Lockdown Live: How to Build a Personal Brand in 2021
Personal branding matters because YOU should be the face of your brand. Why? Because people buy from people. People look for people they can trust and recommend to others, which should put your personal brand at the top of your priority list.
Let me say it again: People buy from people.
There are a lot of industries where WHO you are is as important as WHAT you sell: personal training; coaching; leading a company as a CEO...
During lockdown I did a live video on our Digital Marketers Unite Facebook group about personal branding, and thought it would be good to transcribe it for those who did not have time to watch. People differ, some like to read, others prefer video, either way I hope you enjoy it.
Why Bother with Personal Branding?
Did you know that the 'About Us' page is usually the second most visited page on any website (after the home page)?
That's because people want to know who you are. They want to know your story. The story behind the brand.
Did you know that social media posts about real people have way more engagement than those about products? That's because people want to know more about the people behind the brand, they want real stories, human stories.
Even if you're a big corporate, people want to still 'meet the team'.
1. Why Create a Personal Brand?
So ask yourself why you want to embark on this personal branding journey? Do you want to inspire people? Share tips and tricks, or help people? Knowing the ‘why’ behind this journey is imperative, as it will guide your content creation and keep you on track.
Maybe you want to write a book one day?
Perhaps you'd like to be seen as a thought leader?
We suggest you sit for a few hours, fill out the free personal branding workbook we created to help you on this journey.
This workbook will help you decide what your brand is about. Ask yourself what you are an expert in. It might be easier to create columns or pillars and divide your content. This includes your expertise, your interests, knowledge, passions etc. It could be your profession, your hobbies, it could even include your personal life. You do not necessarily have to limit yourself to your work or career.
2. Take a Professional Photo for your Personal Brand.
It is important to take a professional photo, as it gives you a more trustworthy appearance. Rather than use wedding photos (where we see half a hand hugging you), use your phone to take a nice landscape photo, with a neutral background that looks professional.
Then use this same image across ALL your social and digital platforms for good consistency.
I’ve even incorporated my photo into my business cards!
3. Pick Your Platforms
People often get confused when they hear the term personal branding because they immediately think of their private Instagram or Facebook accounts for example.
What I’m referring to is creating professional personal accounts on social media.
Decide which platforms to use, and create the accounts.
You do not have to use all the platforms out there. The platforms you use most often and are most comfortable and familiar with, will be where you are going to get the most following, and also enjoy most.
Follow me, @dylankohlstadt on all platforms, for an example of personal branding across platforms.
Facebook is the number one social media platform for connecting with people and it is usually easy to build a good following. Facebook is considered more lighthearted than the other platforms so keep your content easy-to-consume and not too technical or heavy-handed. Mashable has a great article on how to use Facebook to build your personal brand.
Instagram stories are normally fun, playful and informal. Stories are disposable and expire after 24 hours. The Instagram grid is where you will post your motivational, inspirational and important content that you want to save. Try to make your grid visually appealing with a colour theme maybe, or a checkered pattern for example. Feel free to watch our tutorial on Instagram or check out the Shift ONE digital Instagram for ideas on how to freshen up your grid.
Linkedin is a great place to reach businesses (B2B) and build your brand awareness to companies, so don’t forget that LinkedIn is all about business so your content can’t be too light or irrelevant for business people. Check out my helpful tutorial on Mastering LinkedIn.
We also have a managed LinkedIn Service where we actively drive leads and build your executive brand on LinkedIn for those who are time poor.
Twitter is a bit different. It is more personal than the other platforms and responds well to trending topics and news. Agorapulse has a handy article that could help you use Twitter for personal branding. If you are prone to ranting or saying the wrong thing, then avoid Twitter at all cost, it can be toxic.
YouTube is a great platform to share your content globally, but it can often be difficult to gain subscribers. Neal Schaffer wrote a piece specifically about why Youtube is a great platform to use. Video marketing is the best way to share your message, and to make people really ‘get’ you, it’s highly effective for CEO’s and thought leaders.
Even if you don’t need a website designed, I highly recommend that you secure your .co.za and your .com or whichever TLD domain is relevant to you, NOW, before someone else takes it. I’ve bought a ton of domains that I’m just sitting on because I haven’t had a chance to start those businesses yet.
You shouldn't register a business name if you don’t have the domain.
4. Creating Authentic Content for your personal brand
After you have created these accounts on the different platforms, you can start to share your content with others. I suggest you try to share content at least once a week and build up your following as much as possible, as you want to reach as many people as you can.
As not everybody is on the same platforms, it is not terrible to post the same content on all your platforms, but you will have more success if you post content specific to each platform.
Gary Vaynerchuck is a great example to look at when it comes to personal branding. I suggest you follow him, and have a look at his website. Below Gary gives us an idea of how he approaches each channel, in a unique way:
Gary is a big inspiration to me when it comes to personal branding, but he has a whole team behind him, so don’t compare yourself to him and get discouraged. Just get started with one task that you can achieve, and then take it one step at a time.
Personal branding is where you will document your life, so it helps to make notes about every “quotable quote” or “nugget of wisdom” that you drop during a meeting or a talk - this becomes the fodder for your content plan.
Check out my Instagram below:
Otherwise you will forget it!
I recommend that you use Canva to drop these nuggets into a professional looking design that is ready to share.
It’s a discipline to post stories daily, you have to learn to share your journey, even if it includes difficult times or experiences: just remember to share what you learned from these experiences.
It is a part of your journey, and who you are. These stories will resonate with people who have been through similar experiences. People want authenticity, and your stories make you more relatable, so I encourage you to share this with them.
You don't necessarily need to have a website to blog. LinkedIn has a great blog writing platform.
If you want to write a book, your blog is a good place to start. The fun part about blogging is that you create your own following who will eventually (hopefully) buy your book.
I like the idea of self-publishing, because you won’t have to share profits with a big publishing company. It depends on what your intentions are with the book.
When blogging, feel free to quote other people and link to other reputable sites that have inspired you, but be sure to only paraphrase or quote them to avoid plagiarism. Do not pass their work off as your own.
Your blog is also a great source of content for your social media platforms - break it up into smaller nuggets.
I really hope this was helpful. Feel free to have a look at my brand and follow me on all my platforms (@dylankohlstadt) as an example of how to do it.
Good luck, and if you need help with anything, just let us know.
About Dylan Kohlstädt
Dylan Kohlstädt started Shift ONE digital in 2011 and now has a team of top subject matter experts working with her from her offices in Cape Town and Jo’burg and Hannover, and clients based all over the world.
Shift ONE specialises in getting you customers through authenticity: creating authentic content that builds communities and turns customers into fans. We create believable top-converting websites, that rank on page one of Google SEO, and next level social media, online advertising, email marketing, graphic design, blogging, press and PR, lead generation, writing, video, animations, and more.
Dylan also founded the Digital Marketing Academy in 2013 in order to pass on what she knows, upskilling marketers and entrepreneurs in digital marketing skills, in a fun, face-to-face or online environment.
Dylan Kohlstädt has worked in advertising, marketing and online in South Africa, UK and Australia and attended a Google for Entrepreneurs immersion program in Silicon Valley where she learned about going from garage to global.
Dylan Kohlstädt, CEO and founder, is a subject matter expert on digital marketing whose articles are regularly featured in entrepreneur and business magazines, TV and radio. Dylan has 20 years of marketing management experience, eight of which are in digital marketing. She also has an MBA through UNISA.
You can reach Dylan at:
Social media: @dylankohlstadt